Our scripture this morning is Galatians 5:13-16.
You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
Paul reminds us of Jesus words about the greatest commandment: “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37-39). Jesus tells us how important this is, saying “all the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:40). This means everything we say and do should be based on loving God and one another.
Something we may miss in this is the “as yourself” part. There are times when all of us find we may not love ourselves very much. For some people, this can be a chronic condition, and if we don’t love ourselves, it’s hard to have a loving relationship with God and one another.
Jesus wants us to see that like many things, self love is a double edged sword. If we love ourselves too much, we forget about serving God and others, wanting only to make ourselves happy. We must have a healthy relationship with ourselves in order to be God’s people. We can’t care for others if we don’t take care of our own physical and spiritual needs (too little self love) or if we are too involved with our own desires (too much self love). God wants us to love Him and our brothers and sisters and ourselves. We are His beloved children, no matter what.
Gracious God, we are grateful for the gift of creation and the wonderful things You have given us. May we love You and one another, and go in faith to share this blessing. Amen.